The playoffs start today in the minors leagues. Both Indianapolis and Altoona made this playoffs this year. We will have live coverage for all of the home games during their playoff runs. We will also have road coverage for Altoona in this series and if they play Trenton in the next round, then someone from the site will cover those games. If they win the first round and then play Binghamton, then we will just have detailed game recaps.

I’m including the playoff schedules for the first round below and we will keep those in the Morning Report until there are no more playoff games to be played. They will be updated daily with results from the previous day. The last Morning Report for the season will be the same day as the last playoff game, but you’ll eventually get over that empty feeling every morning once the winter league recaps start early next month. Don’t worry now though, we still have baseball to be played. There will be an article about Mitch Keller later today and I’ll include a preview for Clay Holmes in the Prospect Watch tonight. Here are the schedules, along with some notes from Tuesday.


9/6: Game One @ Durham 6:35 PM

9/7: Game Two @ Durham 6:35 PM

9/8: Game Three VS Durham 7:15 PM

9/9: Game Four VS Durham 7:05 PM (if necessary)

9/10: Game Five VS Durham 1:35 PM (if necessary)


9/6: Game One @ Bowie 7:05 PM

9/7: Game Two @ Bowie 7:05 PM

9/8: Game Three VS Bowie 6:00 PM

9/9: Game Four VS Bowie 6:00 PM (if necessary)

9/10: Game Five VS Bowie 1:00 PM (if necessary)

** Minor league pitchers for the Pirates took home some awards on Tuesday when the leagues announced the hitters and pitchers of the week. Austin Coley won the Eastern League Pitcher of the Week, Mike Wallace took the same award for the South Atlantic League and Adam Oller got the New York-Penn League award. If you missed our article titled The Twenty this week, shame on you, but here’s the link. Sean McCool covered Coley’s start live, I was at Wallace’s start and I talked to Adam Oller right after his start, so you get some detailed info on all three pitchers in that article.

** With his first out in the fourth inning last night, Steven Brault lost his prospect status. He crossed the 50 innings pitched barrier into non-prospectville (not an actual place). We almost lost two players from the prospect guide in last night’s game. Elias Diaz is at the absolute limit, getting his 130th MLB at-bat in the seventh inning last night, when he singled with two outs.

A few days ago I joked about Diaz losing his prospect status on Tuesday, then said “Tuesday the 26th”, only because he wasn’t playing regularly at that point. What a difference four days makes with the lineups. It’s actually a little shocking to see the Pirates stick to a plan to play the young players, which you hope continues. I also said there was no way Max Moroff wouldn’t be in the prospect guide, though there was a way, and that would be through injuries forcing him into action. I didn’t think it would take just one injury though, but this new idea of playing young players got him into the lineup, so now we have to look at where he is with the prospect status. Moroff now has 86 at-bats in his MLB career. Can he get 45 more in 23 games? You would certainly hope so! Stay tuned.


The Pirates trail in their division by 8.5 games. They are 7.5 games back for the second wild card spot.

Morgantown has been eliminated from the playoffs.


Source: FanGraphs


Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates won 4-3 on Tuesday night over the Chicago Cubs. Gerrit Cole will be on the mound making his 29th start of the season today. He has faced the Cubs twice this season, both times in April, when he allowed two earned runs over 13 total innings. The Cubs will counter with Jose Quintana, who has a 4.50 ERA in 52 innings, with 62 strikeouts and a 1.19 WHIP since joining the Cubs from the Chicago White Sox in mid-July.

In the minors, the regular season is over for everyone except Morgantown. They play until Thursday and Gavin Wallace is scheduled to start today. Clay Holmes starts the playoff opener for Indianapolis tonight and Mitch Keller gets the opening game start for Altoona. The Prospect Watch tonight will have more information on both series.

MLB: Pittsburgh (67-72) vs Cubs (75-63) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Gerrit Cole (4.11 ERA, 43:160 BB/SO, 173.0 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (79-63) @ Durham (86-56) 6:35 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Clay Holmes (3.36 ERA, 59:99 BB/SO, 112.2 IP)

AA: Altoona (74-66) @ Bowie (72-68) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Mitch Keller (3.12 ERA, 11:45 BB/SO, 34.2 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (70-62)  (season preview)

Low-A: West Virginia (69-67) (season preview)

Short-Season A: Morgantown (40-34) @ Mahoning Valley (43-29) 7:05 PM (season preview)

Rookie: Bristol (17-49)

GCL: Pirates (26-34)

DSL: Pirates (36-34) (season preview)


Here is Mitchell Tolman’s walk-off homer to close out Altoona’s regular season.


9/4: Pirates claimed Jack Leathersich on waivers from Chicago Cubs.

9/3: Josh Harrison placed on disabled list. Christopher Bostick recalled from Indianapolis.

9/3: Austin Meadows placed on disabled list.

9/3: Anderson Feliz and Justin Maffei promoted to Indianapolis. Mitchell Tolman and Casey Hughston promoted to Altoona

9/3: Kevin Kramer assigned to Morgantown on rehab.

9/2: Kevin Kramer and Taylor Hearn assigned to GCL Pirates on rehab.

9/1: Pirates activate Wade LeBlanc and Joaquin Benoit from disabled list.

9/1: Hunter Owen added to West Virginia. Shane Kemp promoted to Bradenton.

8/31: Juan Nicasio claimed on waivers by Philadelphia Phillies

8/29: Mikell Granberry promoted to Bristol. Jason Delay promoted to Morgantown.

8/29: Brent Gibbs placed on disabled list. Raul Hernandez promoted to West Virginia.

8/29: Daniel Zamora promoted to Altoona.

8/28: Adam Frazier placed on disabled list. Pirates recall Dovydas Neverauskas.

8/28: Johnny Barbato optioned to Indianapolis. Jordan Luplow recalled.

8/28: Hunter Owen assigned to Morgantown.

8/27: Casey Sadler promoted to Indianapolis.

8/27: Barrett Barnes assigned to Indianapolis.


Nine former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including a player that lost his job to one Hall of Famer, then replaced another at a different position.

Derrek Lee, first baseman for the 2011 Pirates. He was a late-season acquisition, who hit .337 with seven homers in 28 games before getting hurt.

Frank Brooks, 2004 pitcher acquired from Phillies for closer Mike Williams. Made one unsuccessful start, then posted a 2.76 ERA in 16.1 innings of relief.

Pat Meares, infielder for 1999-2001 Pirates. Signed a four-year deal worth $15M with Pirates and ended up putting in just one full season due to injuries.

Mike York, 1990 pitcher. Threw seven shutout innings in his pro debut as a spot starter. Made just three relief appearances for the Pirates after that.

Jack Phillips, 1949-52 first baseman. With the Pirates for four seasons, but only played 158 games. Was in the organization in the minors until the end of the 1954 season.

Johnny Lanning, 1940-43, 45-46 pitcher. Won 11 games during the 1941 season and finished 33-29, 3.44 in 530.2 innings with Pirates.

Vince DiMaggio, center fielder for the Pirates from 1940 until 1944. Two-time All-Star for Pittsburgh, DiMaggio was strong defensively with a big swing that occasionally brought homers, but resulted in a lot of strikeouts. Six times he led the league in strikeouts. Pirates traded Johnny Rizzo to the Reds to get him. At the time, Rizzo held the Pirates record for homers in a season(23 in 1938).

Tommy Thevenow, 1931-35, 38 infielder. He lost his shortstop job in 1932 to Arky Vaughan, then replaced Pie Traynor at third base in 1935. Hit just two homers in his 15-year career and they were hit five days apart, both inside-the-park homers.

Bill Gleason, 1916-17 second baseman. Played over 2,000 minor league games and collected over 2,000 hits. Hit .159 in 14 games over his two seasons in Pittsburgh.

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  1. I think Moroff won’t be in the prospect guide! 🙂

    And I have a question about Diaz. I heard some saying he should work on game calling. I think he worked well with pitchers the past few days though. I had more questions about his framing, not that he’s terrible but felt like some borderline pitches were wasted when Diaz is catching. Is this just me/ump, or does he really have so-so framing?

    • I’ve never heard a pitcher talk bad about his defense, not even off the record. Everyone he worked with seems to love throwing to him. He’s been voted as the best defensive catcher in the minors before, not just his level, the entire minors, so if he’s not good, what would that say for everyone else?

      • Yeah, I even searched google to see if anyone said something about his game calling but couldn’t find any. I think I heard from the broadcast once and saw from twitter (not just random person but beat writer… I think. My memory could be inaccurate though.) Then Hurdle questioning Santana throwing consecutive fastballs, etc. But Taillon, Williams and Kuhl all pitched very well with Diaz.

        Framing is just something I was personally curious. I’m sure the umps didn’t help but I did see sometimes strikes called as balls, so was wondering if it was more because of the umps, pitchers not throwing where Diaz wanted it to be, and borderline 50/50 calls, or if his framing is average. (Great defensive catcher so I assumed his framing would be above average)

        • That Hurdle thing with Diaz seemed to be overblown, only because I watched Santana’s last few minor league appearances before that game and his slider didn’t have the same movement as early in the year and he wasn’t throwing it for strikes. I think those fastballs were just a matter of comfort and knowing where he was at with his pitches at the time, rather than just calling all fastballs for the heck of it. When Santana’s slider is on, he will breaking it out right away. He really wasn’t on his game when they called him back up. Velocity was fine, but command/slider were not

          • From my memories, Hurdle’s been implying that Diaz’s game calling is work in progress but I was actually impressed how he worked with pitching staff the past few days. Maybe Hurdle just meant to say MLB is different from the minors. I’m not sure. As long as Diaz plays like he did past few days, I don’t see any problem.

            And that explains why Santana struggled. He had an excellent start to the season and then got streaky. Is his slider better now?

            • I just watched his last game, which was 4 hits, 2 runs in one inning. He threw 31 pitches and was going fastball heavy, which usually isn’t his approach. He finished the game with great looking slider for a strikeout, but the other few I saw were not good. Hung a couple, bounced another on the plate.

  2. John … I remember recently you mentioning a player that actually made more money in some minor league city because it was his home town.

    For some reason, it made me wonder about the “opposite” – a player rubbing an owner the wrong way and getting buried in some off the beaten path out of spite.

    In your historical research, have you ever come across a story where a team kept a potential star locked away just because they disliked him?

      • Holy crap! Craig Wilson had a Pirates Slugging % of .486 which is .005 away from George Grantham for tenth place on our all time list!
        I remember liking him and thinking he deserved better … but I didn’t realize that he was historically one of our best sluggers!

    • I never did but it seems unlikely because the minors didn’t have a hold over players like the majors did. Plus, the minors made their money by developing players and trading or selling them to the majors, so I can’t imagine they would keep a player they disliked just to spite him, even for half of a season. It seems like every time owners and players disagreed back then to the point of hate, that player would be gone. Sometimes suspended until they could be traded.

      • I think I remember reading about someone (the Cards or Dodgers) creating what is now considered the minor league but I thought prior to that MLB teams could still sign a player (say a Gehrig out of Columbia) and assign him to a minor league club but still “own” him.

        • Yes, teams usually had an affiliate that they worked with in the late 1800’s and the early 20th century, but they wouldn’t have more than 30 signed players at any given time until the 1930’s.

          An example would be the Pirates signing Dots Miller in the summer of 1908, bringing him to Pittsburgh for some workouts with the team then sending him to McKeesport of the Ohio-Penn League so he could play. He then went to Spring Training with the Pirates in 1909. He just happened to make the team, but if he didn’t, then could have kept his contract by sending him back to McKeesport and following his progress.

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